When I looked into the new comic publisher Aftershock, I was first impressed by the list of talent that was coming to work for them. Many people might ask the question, do we really need another comic book publisher in an already crowded publishing field? And to that I answer with a resounding “Absolutely!” If you think all the stories that can be told have been told already, well, you’re wrong. In the past decade we have seen the rise of independent publishers, who have taken comics into a renaissance. We have a greater diversity of fantastic stories to choose from now than at any other time in comics’ history.
So the real question was whether or not Aftershock could put out anything worth reading, and could stand up against the more entrenched independent companies like Image, Dark Horse, Boom, and Dynamite. They certainly were bringing in the talent, and after seeing the titles that were making up their first wave, I still wasn’t sold, but I was hopeful.
I focused in on one title that grabbed my attention, SuperZero. Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti were the writers and creators, which certainly helped me make my decision, but the blurb about the comic impressed me as a fun read. So before I even flipped through the first issue I was optimistic at the thought of what I might find — and I wasn’t disappointed. To say that my expectations were met is an understatement. The truth was that I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I found there.
First let me give props to the art team headed up by penciler Rafael De Latorre. It’s clean and it captures the book’s tone, something that is often overlooked. The right artist, like a David Mazzucchelli on Batman: Year One, can take a great story and turns it into some thing special. When the right artist is on a book with the right story, it’s what makes comics the great visual medium it is. De Latorre’s art is inviting and has a youthful feel to it that meshes well with a story about a teenage girl exploring ways to get superpowers.
What made the book for me though, was the writing. The story is great fun. Heck, the concept — a girl who wants to be a superhero so badly that she is willing to recreate the origin stories of popular heroes — is worth read by itself, but that’s only one of the good parts of SuperZero’s whole. If you’re a fan of comics, and if you’ve been a fan of this medium for as long as I have, the industry references that underline the story are priceless. The Mark Waid reference made me laugh out loud, and is a great example of what made this book a pleasure to read.
You can tell that this book is put together by people who love comics, and who are bona fide professionals. I recommend this book for a number of reasons besides the fact that it’s a solid book, funny, and enjoyable to read, most especially the fact that the creators had a great time putting it together seeps through on every page. SuperZero has inspired me to try more of the Aftershock line up, and I have a sneaky suspicion that they will be lovingly crafted with the same kind of care.